New York Times Critic Pete Wells Awards 2 Stars to Restaurant Estela

'Inside Estela, the dining room is spare and intimate, and the noise level can climb steeply,' says Pete Wells

"Mr. Mattos’s cooking at Estela has a mild case of weirdness," says Pete Wells.

The New York Times critic Pete Wells reviews restaurant Estela this week in New York City's neighborhood of Nolita, which he entitles, "Having Dinner with a Mild Eccentric." "If you wanted to take the measure of Ignacio Mattos’s cooking at Estela, which opened on East Houston Street in June," he says, "you might look at the burrata on the menu and think: no, too easy. Anyone can slap burrata on a plate and wait for the moaning to start. But order it anyway, so you can see what happens when Mr. Mattos puts this louche, voluptuous cheese on a juice cleanse." He goes on to explain the burrata at Estela as a "fatty sprawl of dairy" that is "brought to heel with fresh and grassy vegetable juice." The result, he says, is "something you taste, not something that washes over you in a big creamy wave. It’s strange but it’s right."

"Mr. Mattos’s cooking at Estela has a mild case of weirdness," he says, "it is just unfamiliar enough that I had eaten about a meal and a half there before it dawned on me that nearly everything is Mediterranean, more or less." 

Meanwhile, Wells' predecessor Frank Bruni writes on the joys of being a regular in restaurant dining, in his piece "Familiarity Breeds Content." "To be a regular is not just to settle down but to grow up and appreciate that for all you haven’t tasted, you’re plenty lucky and plenty happy with what you have," he says. 


For Pete Wells' full review, click here